Family history

Sunday Snap – Holiday Photo’s

Summer holidays when I was a young boy were taken at British seaside resorts. We regularly went to Blackpool and Cleethorpes for a week.  I also recall going to Great Yarmouth and Scarborough.

We stayed in a traditional seaside guesthouse for bed, breakfast, dinner and evening meal.

So a typical day – depending on weather – would include time on the beach, donkey rides, going to amusement arcades, rides at the Pleasure Beach or fun fair, and wandering around the town. In the evening parents might go to see a show at the theatre. I have memories of my dad taking me / us to a local cafe for a mug of Horlicks before bedtime.

One of the traditions at the end of the week was for a group photograph to be taken of all the people staying at the guesthouse. Here are two taken sometime during the 1950’s

On this one I am sat with my mum – second from the right (marked with a x). My dad is on the back row – again marked with a x.

On this next one I am stood in the middle in front of my mum. My grandma is next to us but I don’t who the young lad is in front of her. My granddad is third from left on the back row and my dad fifth from the left.

I don’t know for sure where either photograph was taken – I’m sure my mum might remember if I ask her. I think we went to Great Yarmouth with my grandparents so I guess the photograph just above could be from that holiday.

Does anyone else have similar memories of going on holiday and having a group photograph taken at the end of the week?

Military Monday – Tom Hurtley (1897-1977)

Tom Hurtley is my great uncle – my grandmother’s brother.  His birth is registered in the September quarter of 1897 and he is the sixth of seven children born to James Hurtley and Ellen Paley.

I have been lucky enough to find what remains of Tom’s WW1 service records on www.ancestry.co.uk but sadly the quality of them is not very good.

Tom enlisted in February 1916 and in August he was appointed to the West Riding Regiment.  His service number was 203517.  Occupation at the time of enlisting is shown as ‘cowman’ – he worked on his father’s farm at Town Head, Cononley, West Yorkshire.

The ‘medical history sheet’ shows that he was examined in Halifax, West Yorkshire on 19 August 1916.  He is said to be 5 feet 5.5 inches tall and weighing 117lbs.  His physical development is described as good.

According to the ‘military history sheet’ Tom was at home from 19 August 1916 to 13 December 1916.

He embarked on 14 December 1916 heading to France.  The next piece of information I can find is that Tom appears to have been awarded the Military Medal for ‘bravery on the field’ – the date looks to be 4 October 1918 – see what you think below.

The extract above also shows that he was wounded on 11 October 1918.

Tom was finally ‘demobbed’ on 26 October 1919.  However, like many of his comrades he was retained in the Class Z Reserve.

Class Z Reserve was authorised by an Army Order of 3 December 1918.  There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities.  Soldiers who were being demobilised, particularly those who had agreed to serve “for the duration”, were at first posted to Class Z.  They returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon.  The Z Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920.

Tom married Ada Binns sometime in the September quarter of 1922.  They had one daughter, Ellen, born in 1923.

I remember as a young boy visiting relatives in Cononley with my parents in the early 1960’s and can recall meeting Tom and Ada.  Little did I realise at the time how much there was to admire about Tom and his bravery.

Tom died in 1977 aged about 80.

Military Medal

Military Monday – Jim Hurtley (1887-1947)

Jim Hurtley is my great uncle – he is my grandmother’s brother.  He was born about January 1887 to parents James Hurtley and Ellen Paley.

In the 1901 census his occupation is given as ‘bobbin turner’ and in 1911 he is described as ‘manager at hay and straw merchant’.  At the time he was living in the village of Cononley near Skipton in Yorkshire.

Jim married Jessie Leeming on 28 March 1910 and their daughter Alice was born on 20 September the same year.

When the war came he enlisted in the army at Keighley, West Yorkshire on 9 December 1915 at the age of 28 years 11 months.  His occupation at the time is given as ‘warehouseman’.  His service number is 185500.  I’m not sure what happened over the next ten months because the next piece of information shows that he had a medical examination in Halifax, West Yorkshire on 14 October 1916 and was appointed to the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 18 October 1916.

Details of Jim’s area of action are not recorded in any great detail.  I do know that he embarked from Southampton on 17 May 1917.   He then embarked from another port (record unclear) on 27 June 1917 and landed in Alexandria, Egypt on 6 July 1917.

Jim was wounded in action on 9 March 1918 but he ‘remained at duty’.

There is no more information about his service until he embarked from Port Said on 30 January 1919 to return to England.  He was discharged from the army and issued with a ‘protection certificate’ and certificate of identity on 10 February 1919.  However, like many of his comrades Jim was retained in the Class Z Reserve.

Class Z Reserve was authorised by an Army Order of 3 December 1918.  There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities.  Soldiers who were being demobilised, particularly those who had agreed to serve “for the duration”, were at first posted to Class Z.  They returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon.  The Z Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920.

In 1921 Jiim received his British War and Victory Medals.

Jim and Jessie had two further children – Jim (born about September 1920) and Phyllis (born about September 1924).

Jim died at the age of 60 in 1947.

Sunday Snap – Railway Posers?

This is a photograph from my own collection – yet another of the many unidentified subjects.

Across the bottom right corner is the name Bruce Johnston, Keighley.    I can find a couple of references to this firm of photographers on local family history message boards.

The chaps in the photograph are obviously in some sort of uniform.  I think that there are some clues that suggest they are railway workers.

I can read the initials MR on the cap of the man on the right of the photograph.  I suspect that this is the Midland Railway company.  The visible pocket watch chain worn by the man second left indicates to me that he is probably a railway worker.

I don’t recognise anyone in the photograph.  However my grandfather, Joseph Dawson, worked for London, Midland & Scottish Railway company and may well have worked for the predecessor the Midland Railway company.

I am really hopeless at trying to date photographs.  But if there is a connection with my grandfather I guess it would have been taken around the 1920 period and before MR became LMS.

If anyone has any other suggestion I would be happy to hear it.

Military Monday – John Dawson

John Dawson is my 1st Cousin 2x removed – in other words he is my granddad’s cousin.  He was born about 1890.  His parents were John Dawson and Elizabeth Bradley.  He is the brother of Prince Dawson who I wrote about last September.

I found John’s army service records on www.ancestry.co.uk so I know that he enlisted on 11 May 1908 and was posted to the 6th Brigade West Riding Regiment.  His service number is 699.

The ‘Medical Inspection report’ was completed in Keighley, West Yorkshire, on the day he enlisted.  This shows that John was quite short – only 5 feet 3 inches.  His vision is described as ‘good’ and his physical development as ‘fair’.  Nevertheless the Medical Officer, Sergeant Major Will Gabriel considered John to be ‘fit’ for the Territorial Force.

It looks like John signed up for four years.  The ‘Statement of Service’ shows it would run from from 11 May 1908 to 10 May 1912.

He was assigned to Keighley for his preliminary training.  Over the next three years he had annual training in

Redcar from 25 July 1908 to 1 August 1908

Marske from 25 July 1909 to 8 August 1909

Peel (Isle of Man) from 31 July 1910 to 7 August 1910

Ripon from 30 July 1911 to 6 August 1911

Then on 10 May 1912 he was discharged in consequence of the ‘termination of engagement’.

CWGC Website

I have just visited the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website for the first time since it’s relaunch on 19 January.

I must say that I am really impressed both with the look and feel of the site.  It has certainly been brought ‘up to date’ with a much more modern style.

All the same information is there but is presented more clearly and I found it easier to navigate around the pages.

If you haven’t been on yet go and have a look.  What do you think about it?

Sunday’s Obituary – Benjamin Gawthrop (1869-1928)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my cousin Benjamin Gawthrop and his work as a Baptist minister here in the UK and in Australia.

Benjamin died on 30 June 1928 – he was living in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.

Here is an obituary from The Sydney Morning Herald of Tuesday 3 July 1928.

 

A large and representative gathering attended the funeral of the Rev. B Gawthrop at Rockwood yesterday afternoon.

Mr. Gawthrop fulfilled ministries at Petersham, Newcastle, and latterly at Katoomba Baptist Churches.  He occupied for a full term the presidential offices of the Baptist Union of New South Wales, and the Northern Baptist Association, and he also rendered services during the war as a local army chaplain.

A graduate of Rawdon College, Leeds, his first pastorate prior to his receiving a call to Petersham Baptist Church was at Heaton, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

The Rev. G A Craike conducted a service at the Petersham Baptist Church prior to the interment, with the assistance of Revs. J Barker, S Sharp, W Lamb, W Higlett and Rev. A P Doran, president of the Congregational Union.  At the graveside the service was conducted by Rev. G A Craike, Dr. Waldock, and other ministers.  Mr Gawthrop leaves a widow, three sons, Clifford, Martin and John, and a daughter, Mrs. H H Simpson.

Among those present were Messrs. F R King, J A Young, F H Searl, A Lord, R H H Butler, H Palmer, C J Dixon, W L Turnham, D Barr, J Maclean, F E Hood, Dr. H T C MacCulloch, H J Morton, H H Simpson, F W Oliver, and J A Packer, and the Revs. W Higlett, E G Hockey, A Jolly, E L Leeder, J Worboys, and W Lamb.

Austwick – Postcard #15

This is another postcard from my own collection.  It’s the second one I have shown you from the Yorkshire Dales village of Austwick.

The first one featured the Church of the Epiphany and village cross.  This time it is the village green which is just around the corner from the church.  The postcard is unused and is in very good condition.  There is no publisher and no printer identified on the front or the back of the card.

The area around Austwick is said to have been inhabited for over 4000 years.  Archaeological finds in and around the village include prehistoric burial places, a large Bronze Age settlement, and even an Iron Age settlement.

At one time, Austwick and the nearby villages of Clapham, Lawkland and Newby, were independent manors each with their own lord.  Together they formed the larger parish of Clapham.

In the Domesday Book Austwick was at the head of a group of 12 manors and was obviously of importance.  The Anglican lord at the time Norman Conquest in 1066 was Thorvin.  A field in the village is known as ‘Thorvin Croft’ – a connection or just a coincidence?

Since 1782 the Farrer family has held the Lordship of the Manor of Austwick – the present Lord being Dr John Farrer of Clapham.

Here’s a link to the village website.

This is how the postcard scene looks today.